Diary of an estate agent: Salisbury

This estate agent has a secret weapon thanks to their working cocker spaniel, while the town continues to attract overseas clients...

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My first appointment on this sunny day is at the park, as always, with Poppy, my working cocker spaniel. She comes everywhere with me. We live in Salisbury, just around the corner from our gorgeous Jacobean offices.

The team arrives at work and business kicks in, checking weekend calls, emails and property portal enquiries. 

Some people are worried about Brexit but we don’t seem to have been affected much, except perhaps with homes north of £2 million. Our core demand — homes from £450,000 to £850,000 — continues to be driven by families relocating or older couples downsizing. 

There has been a noticeable increase in rental enquiries, however. Also, we are busy with a big regeneration scheme and two or three other smaller premium housing projects. It is an exciting time.

Market day. It’s always good to take an early coffee and chat with the locals. I listen to their views of the current political situation before catching up on offers and imminent exchanges.

After running through the diary and a quick meeting with the team about two new applicants, I head out to value a lovely country house.  After 30 years in the job, I still have to pinch myself when I am asked to market houses  that most people would pay to visit. 

The afternoon is full of pending exchanges and long conversations with overseas clients. Salisbury has become very international with hundreds of tourists coming to visit because of the cathedral. 

It is a privilege to have both UK and international clients that I can share my experience and knowledge of the city with and help them find the perfect home. 

At five o’clock things slow down so it’s time to update new listings and work on our social media content.

Walking to work, we pass through The Close — the medieval walls which surround the cathedral — which is home to three schools and some excellent listed properties, two of which we have sold this year as a result of our network and local contacts. 

As I reach the office, the sound of emails hitting my smartphone heralds another busy day ahead.

I have three viewings today with a couple who are selling up in Belgium and returning to the UK. The husband is a keen fisherman, so they have targeted the Chalke Valley between Salisbury and Shaftesbury.

Our service is entirely bespoke and client led. More than half our sales this year have been off-market, which clients love, giving them the results they seek without the public airing of their sale.

Prospecting and leaflet dropping are the priority this morning. I muck in with the team and we set off to try to secure new instructions. Qualifying clients and establishing an early rapport is essential in a country office with big distances between properties. 

This afternoon’s viewing is at a wonderful manor house. Viewings are a delight and showing expectant home owners around their next potential home is one of the best parts of the job. 

Everything is going to plan, and the viewer’s in-laws are enjoying the tour, too. The purchaser’s three-year-old daughter cannot see any cows in the meadow next door and after their long car journey from London I am guessing the bovine distraction featured in the bribery process. 

Having a lovable dog proves to be a perfect distraction for little ones bored with walking around large houses. 

Poppy works her magic — and once my client’s hens have also been herded back into their henhouse, all is well with the world.  

We are completing on a listed house in the Cathedral Close and it’s all hands on deck to get things finalised before the weekend. 

After a busy morning, I head out to meet a local law firm. We are discussing property transactional matters for one of our clients. Being in a close-knit community means that we have built great relationships with the other local businesses and any legal matters can be dealt with easily.

At close of business, Poppy and I round up the team and we set off to our favourite local pub for quiz night. 

This is a serious affair for keen minds! We say our goodbyes and take a turn around the park before heading for home in our favourite “small” city.

  • Matthew Hallett is director at Winkworth in Salisbury (01722 443000).

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